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RNIB asks Number 10 for leadership on accessible coronavirus information

RNIB’s Chief Executive Matt Stringer and other charities have written to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Image: The exterior of 10 Downing Street

The letter highlights inaccessible government updates on coronavirus, and to ask him to appoint a national lead on the issue.

The Government has consistently been sharing vital public health information and other updates in a way that excludes people with sensory or complex disabilities, despite reminders from RNIB and other organisations.

The letter also points out that this inaccessible information has the potential to undermine national efforts to delay the spread of the virus and calls for the NHS to follow the Accessible Information Standard.

It also asks the Prime Minister to ensure all Government outlets adhere to the Equality Act which requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments” to support disabled people, including providing information “in an accessible format”. It’s signed by the Chief Executives of Action on Hearing Loss, the National Autistic Society, Sense, SignHealth, the Thomas Pocklington Trust, Guide Dogs and Visionary.

This letter follows our continued efforts over the last month using the hashtag #InfoForAll to persuade government and businesses who are communicating updates about coronavirus to add alt text to images on social media, including audio in video content and produce alternative, accessible formats for letters and documents that have been circulated to update people on current coronavirus guidance.

While we wait for a response to this letter we will continue to call out any inaccessible information we see, and contact the relevant organisations to offer tips to help them increase accessibility. You can help by highlighting inaccessible Twitter posts using the hashtag #InfoForAll.

We will also keep our supporters updated with our progress across our website and social media.